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Religions, Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2017)

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Description What does it take for Buddhism to be glocal? And how many different shapes of glocalization can be [...] Read more.
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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Religions in 2016
Religions 2017, 8(1), 9; doi:10.3390/rel8010009
Received: 10 January 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract The editors of Religions would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperEditorial Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity—Description of Concepts and Validation of Instruments
Religions 2017, 8(1), 11; doi:10.3390/rel8010011
Received: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 16 January 2017
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Abstract Why do we need some more questionnaires to measure aspects of spirituality/religiosity when we already have so many well-tried instruments in use?[...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Elizabeth Bishop and the Poetry of Meditation
Religions 2017, 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/rel8010010
Received: 5 July 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry has won the admiration of a number of Christian poets and scholars. This essay argues that one reason for this is Bishop’s subtle engagement with the work of the poet-divines Gerard Manley Hopkins and, especially, George Herbert; through their influence,
[...] Read more.
Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry has won the admiration of a number of Christian poets and scholars. This essay argues that one reason for this is Bishop’s subtle engagement with the work of the poet-divines Gerard Manley Hopkins and, especially, George Herbert; through their influence, she enters into the guiding western poetic tradition of the meditative lyric, which is rooted in the Platonic and Christian accounts of the human person as an image of the Triune God in virtue of the mind as a trinity of memory, understanding, and will. Bishop practiced poetry as a moral act open to a divinity it cannot account for or even name, but traces of whose significance run through the world her poems depict. By considering her work, and her poem “The Weed” in particular, in the context of Herbert, the historical studies of Louis L. Martz, and the literary theory of Yvor Winters, we see that Bishop the unbeliever cannot properly be understood as a “secular” poet, but as one who recognizes the meditative lyric as a way of arriving at understanding of a truth that transcends us. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue English Poetry and Christianity)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Glocalization and the Marketing of Christianity in Early Modern Southeast Asia
Religions 2017, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/rel8010007
Received: 5 October 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
The expansion of European commercial interests into Southeast Asia during the early modern period was commonly justified by the biblical injunction to spread Christian teachings, and by the “civilizing” influences it was said to foster. In focusing on areas where Christianity gained a
[...] Read more.
The expansion of European commercial interests into Southeast Asia during the early modern period was commonly justified by the biblical injunction to spread Christian teachings, and by the “civilizing” influences it was said to foster. In focusing on areas where Christianity gained a foothold or, in the Philippines and Timor Leste, became the dominant faith, this article invokes the marketing concept of “glocalization”, frequently applied to the sociology of religion. It argues that the historical beginnings of the processes associated with the global/local interface of Christianity are situated in the sixteenth century, when Europe, Asia and the Americas were finally linked through maritime connections. Christian missionizing was undertaken with the assumption that the European-based “brand” of beliefs and practices could be successfully transported to a very different environment. However, the application of these ideas was complicated by the goal of imposing European economic control, by the local resistance thus generated, and by competition with other religions and among Christians themselves. In this often antagonistic environment, the degree to which a global product could be “repackaged” and “glocalized” so that it was appealing to consumers in different cultural environments was always constrained, even among the most sympathetic purveyors. As a result, the glocalization of Christianity set up “power-laden tensions” which both global institutions and dispersed consumers continue to negotiate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glocal Religions)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle America’s “Peculiar Children”: Authority and Christian Nationalism at Antebellum West Point
Religions 2017, 8(1), 6; doi:10.3390/rel8010006
Received: 2 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 29 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
This essay examines how the United States Military Academy at West Point developed an explicitly “federal” Christianity to help train the antebellum officers of the United States Army. It begins by examining how the Episcopal Church was quietly “established” at West Point, and
[...] Read more.
This essay examines how the United States Military Academy at West Point developed an explicitly “federal” Christianity to help train the antebellum officers of the United States Army. It begins by examining how the Episcopal Church was quietly “established” at West Point, and how the church allied with the federal government and US Army to encourage a potent Christian nationalism that collapsed the sovereignty of the United States into the sovereignty of God. The case of West Point illustrates how federal officials, Army leaders, and Academy administrators understood religion as a central component of national security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Nationalism in the United States)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Scythe and the Pentagram: Santa Muerte from Folk Catholicism to Occultism
Religions 2017, 8(1), 1; doi:10.3390/rel8010001
Received: 24 February 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 27 May 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Santa Muerte is establishing a presence among practitioners of contemporary occultism in Europe and North America. The occult milieu is highly different from the Mexican cult of Santa Muerte, having a strong heritage of secrecy and tradition as social capital and being mostly
[...] Read more.
Santa Muerte is establishing a presence among practitioners of contemporary occultism in Europe and North America. The occult milieu is highly different from the Mexican cult of Santa Muerte, having a strong heritage of secrecy and tradition as social capital and being mostly middle-class in orientation. Nonetheless, this Catholic folk saint with a mostly pragmatic, popular, and grassroots cult is becoming increasingly popular among occultists. Based on a survey of three recent books on Santa Muerte geared towards an Anglophone, occult audience, it is therefore the aim of this article to understand how and why the Skeleton Saint is attracting adherents in the occult milieu, by analyzing the underlying causes of this growing trend, as well as the conditions shaping it. It is the overall argument of this article that the beginning reception of Santa Muerte in occultism is a result of perceived needs and demands specific to the occult milieu rather than characteristics inherent in the symbol itself, and that an analysis of the ways in which she is spreading outside of her original sociocultural context must be guided by an understanding of the novel one she is integrated in. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Death in the New World: The Rise of Santa Muerte)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Religion, the Federalists, and American Nationalism
Religions 2017, 8(1), 5; doi:10.3390/rel8010005
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
It may seem a truism to assert that the Federalist Party in the Early American Republic possessed a nationalist emphasis, but the question remains as to the character of their nationalism. This article draws on categories from the historian John D. Wilsey to
[...] Read more.
It may seem a truism to assert that the Federalist Party in the Early American Republic possessed a nationalist emphasis, but the question remains as to the character of their nationalism. This article draws on categories from the historian John D. Wilsey to determine how “open” or “closed” Federalist nationalism was. It looks to public utterances of Federalist leaders to find that they attempted to hold up the nation as an ideal, but that they avoided expansionistic tendencies in foreign affairs. This allows the article to posit Federalist nationalism as “open.” It then considers what role religion played in supporting this “open” Federalist nationalism. It finds that Federalist religious nationalism developed in three stages: “Republican,” “Federalist,” and “Voluntarist,” as Federalists responded to needs within, and changes to, the new nation. The article concludes that religion (predominantly Protestant Christianity) thus operated creatively in support of an “open” Federalist nationalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Nationalism in the United States)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle “This World Is Not My Home”: Richard Mouw and Christian Nationalism
Religions 2017, 8(1), 2; doi:10.3390/rel8010002
Received: 6 November 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 27 December 2016
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Abstract
American evangelicalism has often been punctuated by dual commitments to the United States and to God. Those commitments were strongest within politically conservative evangelicalism. Though representing a solid majority among professing evangelicals, conservatives could not speak for the movement as a whole. Politically
[...] Read more.
American evangelicalism has often been punctuated by dual commitments to the United States and to God. Those commitments were strongest within politically conservative evangelicalism. Though representing a solid majority among professing evangelicals, conservatives could not speak for the movement as a whole. Politically progressive evangelicals, beginning in the 1960s, formed a dissenting opinion of the post-World War II revival of Christian nationalism. They dared to challenge American action abroad, noticeably during the Vietnam War. Their critique of Christian nationalism and conservative evangelicals’ close ties to the Republican Party led them to seek refuge in either progressive policies or the Democratic Party. A third, underexplored subgroup of evangelicalism rooted in reformed theology becomes important to consider in this regard. These reformed evangelicals sought to contextualize nationalism in biblical rather than partisan or political terms. This goal is championed well by Richard Mouw, resulting in a nuanced look at evangelical Christians’ difficult dual role as both citizens of the Kingdom of God and the United States. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Nationalism in the United States)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Transatlantic Abolitionist Discourse and the Body of Christ in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point”
Religions 2017, 8(1), 3; doi:10.3390/rel8010003
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 27 December 2016
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Abstract
Despite renewed interest in roles played by Christianity in the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (EBB), few scholars have discussed her treatment of the body of Christ—understood as both the figure of Christ and his body of followers—in her antislavery poem, “The Runaway
[...] Read more.
Despite renewed interest in roles played by Christianity in the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (EBB), few scholars have discussed her treatment of the body of Christ—understood as both the figure of Christ and his body of followers—in her antislavery poem, “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point”. This article argues that “The Runaway Slave” reworks portrayals of the body of Christ in transatlantic abolitionist print culture. It examines the poem in its original context of publication in the 1848 issue of The Liberty Bell, the Boston-based antislavery annual. As EBB would have known from earlier issues of the annual that she received before writing her poem, its contributors—primarily though not exclusively privileged northern whites—represented themselves as messianic martyrs whose Christ-like suffering would liberate slaves. EBB’s poem challenges this self-glorifying rhetoric, in part by making a refrain out of words from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s well-known poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This refrain indicates that the symbols used by Liberty Bell authors to portray themselves as messianic martyrs might, to those they labor to liberate, seem perversely bound up in slavery and the color binary used to justify it. “Runaway Slave” further suggests that the Liberty Bell’s messianic rhetoric, like the slave system itself, parodies Christ’s sacrifice of himself for the good of others. In both cases, wittingly or not, whites seek to turn the bodily agony of blacks to their benefit, whether ethical or economic. Stressing that such parodies of the crucifixion only perpetuate racial violence, the poem pursues what we might call a post-secular vision of Christ’s body, suggesting that people can through love act as members of Christ outside of any official church body. EBB’s poem nevertheless risks trading in the abuses it critiques—a risk, the material history of her poem indicates, of which she might have been aware. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue English Poetry and Christianity)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Transcendence Un-Extra-Ordinaire: Bringing the Atheistic I Down to Earth
Religions 2017, 8(1), 4; doi:10.3390/rel8010004
Received: 13 November 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
I examine challenges to images of a personal god definitive for normatively policed theism (often called “traditional theism”), questioning whether a subject can be conscious of a transcendent being. I examine the challenges to show that disappointment with such images calls for rethinking
[...] Read more.
I examine challenges to images of a personal god definitive for normatively policed theism (often called “traditional theism”), questioning whether a subject can be conscious of a transcendent being. I examine the challenges to show that disappointment with such images calls for rethinking terms like “transcendence” in horizontal rather than vertical registers. Through this, I indicate an irony in yearning for transcendence, one in which there is movement toward—rather than beyond—the utterly ordinary. We will see that such un-extra-ordinary transcendence makes a difference once difference is no longer determined under the hegemony of what Levinas calls “the atheistic I.” I bring together resources from feminist philosophies and Asian religions both to elaborate on the nature of the atheistic I and to rehabilitate a redeeming appreciation of the ordinary. My hope is to ameliorate disempowered estrangement by indicating ways the ordinary generates, not inhibits, becoming. However, my broader intent is to contribute to shifting sands in contemporary philosophy of religion due to recent calls for diversifying the field by including multiple religions, questioning the centrality of belief, and engaging multiple methods relevant in religious studies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Confidence in Government and Attitudes toward Bribery: A Country-Cluster Analysis of Demographic and Religiosity Perspectives
Religions 2017, 8(1), 8; doi:10.3390/rel8010008
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 2 January 2017 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
In this study, we try to classify the countries by the levels of confidence in government and attitudes toward accepting bribery by using the data of the sixth wave (2010–2014) of the World Values Survey (WVS). We are also interested in which demographic,
[...] Read more.
In this study, we try to classify the countries by the levels of confidence in government and attitudes toward accepting bribery by using the data of the sixth wave (2010–2014) of the World Values Survey (WVS). We are also interested in which demographic, attitudinal, and religiosity variables affect each class of countries. For these purposes cluster analysis, linear regression analysis, and ordered logistic regression analysis were used. The study found that countries could be grouped into two clusters which had varying levels of opposition to bribe taking and confidence in government. Another finding was that certain demographic, attitudinal, and religiosity variables that were significant in one cluster might not be significant in another cluster. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Japanese Buddhism, Relativization, and Glocalization
Religions 2017, 8(1), 12; doi:10.3390/rel8010012
Received: 9 October 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
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Abstract
Within the field of study on Japanese religions, the issue of globalization tends to be associated with the missionary activities of some successful new religious movements, and there is a certain reluctance to approach analytically the dynamics of glocalization/hybridization and the power issues
[...] Read more.
Within the field of study on Japanese religions, the issue of globalization tends to be associated with the missionary activities of some successful new religious movements, and there is a certain reluctance to approach analytically the dynamics of glocalization/hybridization and the power issues at stake. In this article, I address these and other related problems by taking my cue from the relativizing effects of globalization and a working definition of religion based on the concept of authority. To this aim, I focus on two case studies. The first concerns the ongoing greening of Japanese Buddhism. The second revolves around the adoption of meditational techniques by priests and lay practitioners in Hawaiian Shin Buddhism. My findings show that there are at least four factors underlying the glocalization of Japanese Buddhism, that is, global consciousness, resonance with the local tradition, decontextualization, and quest for power. Moreover, they indicate that it is possible to distinguish between two types of glocalization (glocalization and chauvinistic glocalization) and two configurations of glocalization (juxtaposition and integration). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glocal Religions)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Lost Honor of Julius Deutsch: Jewish Difference, “Socialist Betrayal”, and Imperial Loyalty in the 1923 Deutsch-Reinl Trial
Religions 2017, 8(1), 13; doi:10.3390/rel8010013
Received: 13 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 December 2016 / Published: 18 January 2017
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Abstract
In 1922, Julius Deutsch, one of the leading Viennese Social Democrats, spent a weekend in the Strudengau in Upper Austria. In a local inn, he was insulted by a right-wing alpinist, who accused him of being a traitor to the Emperor. The man
[...] Read more.
In 1922, Julius Deutsch, one of the leading Viennese Social Democrats, spent a weekend in the Strudengau in Upper Austria. In a local inn, he was insulted by a right-wing alpinist, who accused him of being a traitor to the Emperor. The man claimed that Deutsch, along with other “Jewish Revolutionaries”, played a part in overturning the old order and helping to “stab” the Empire’s army “in the back”. Deutsch brought his opponent to trial, in an attempt to present his actions both in the World War and as a State Secretary for Military Affairs in the new Austrian Republic in a better light. However, the provincial courts acquitted the defendant on appeal, following the anti-Semitic arguments of his defending lawyer. Like other trials in the interwar years, the lawsuit unfolded into a “court of injustice”, with contested concepts of “Jewish difference” being performed. In the courtroom, Deutsch, who left the Jewish religious community as a young man, was forced to engage with his Jewish family background. The article focuses on Deutsch’s retrospective narration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in his courtroom speech and the insights that can be gained about Jewish difference and the antagonistic political arena of the new nation-state of (Deutsch-)Österreich. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Moving Forward in Their Journey: Participants’ Experience of Taste & See, A Church-Based Programme to Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food
Religions 2017, 8(1), 14; doi:10.3390/rel8010014
Received: 14 November 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2017 / Published: 19 January 2017
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Abstract
Quantitative evidence is beginning to document the successful outcomes achieved from holistic interventions that include a spiritual element as an approach to self-manage obesity in the community. However, qualitative research, which helps us understand the reasons behind their success, is scarce. Our aim
[...] Read more.
Quantitative evidence is beginning to document the successful outcomes achieved from holistic interventions that include a spiritual element as an approach to self-manage obesity in the community. However, qualitative research, which helps us understand the reasons behind their success, is scarce. Our aim was to explore participants’ acceptance of and engagement with the Taste & See programme. Semi-structured interviews were carried out after participants had completed the Taste & See programme. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using deductive thematic analysis. Themes showing that ‘God and food issues had been kept separate’ at the start of the programme and that participants then ‘Began to use faith as a resource’ were identified. Also, while ‘Eating freely was a challenge’ initially, participants later found ‘empowerment and enjoyment in freedom’. ‘Addressing more than just a weight problem’ was valued highly and there were benefits and difficulties that arose from ‘Coping with other group members’. The rich level of evaluation provided through this study identifies that the participants found the programme a novel experience. The intervention was acceptable and participants engaged well with the programme content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Searching for the Hidden: A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Spiritual Aspects of Day Case Surgery from Staff Perspectives
Religions 2017, 8(1), 15; doi:10.3390/rel8010015
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 8 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 19 January 2017
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Abstract
Recent healthcare literature has shown an increasing interest in spiritual care and the way in which it supports patients as they deal with illness; but; as the body of evidence grows in many areas; the spiritual aspects of day surgery have been under-researched.
[...] Read more.
Recent healthcare literature has shown an increasing interest in spiritual care and the way in which it supports patients as they deal with illness; but; as the body of evidence grows in many areas; the spiritual aspects of day surgery have been under-researched. The aims of this interpretive phenomenological study were to identify the patients’ spiritual needs and concerns prior to surgery both from the patients’ and surgical healthcare staffs’ perspectives and to investigate whether there was congruence between the groups. The results of the staff focus groups are presented here. A purposive; convenience sample of 13 staff (nurses; consultants and pharmacists) attended one of three focus groups. Data were analysed utilising interpretive phenomenological analysis in order to discover the meaning for participants derived from their own contexts. Caring for spiritual and existential concerns was expressed through staff’s relationships with patients; by a caring attitude and connection with them; helping patients to cope. Results show that spiritual care can be embedded in day surgery practice; and can be given during fleeting care episodes; though awareness is needed of the way in which this can be achieved. Full article

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